You’re probably aware that you need to look after your body with a healthy diet and exercise but have you ever thought about looking after your brain and mind?
Our brain is our most powerful organ and when it’s not functioning well, we feel foggy, tired, anxious, or depressed. There are simple lifestyle changes we can make to improve the functioning of our brain and mental health – here are six to try:
- Eat well
While our brain only makes up about 2% of our body weight, it consumes a whopping 20% of our daily energy intake. A balanced diet with plenty of vegetables, proteins and healthy fats makes for a healthy brain. It’s important to keep sugar intake in check to keep our brain healthy – eating excessive sugar leads to blood sugar crashes that cause tiredness and fatigue. If you’re familiar with the 3pm crash, try cutting down on the sugar in your diet and see the difference it makes!
- Move your body
Exercise supports brain health by promoting blood flow and lowering stress levels. Studies have found that the parts of the brain that control thinking and memory have greater volume in people who exercise versus people who don’t. And you don’t have to go crazy either – 120 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking or swimming gets the job done.
- Get adequate stimulation
To keep our mind healthy and sharp we need to make sure we’re getting adequate stimulation. Our brains thrive on novel scenarios where they’re challenged, like when we learn new skills or experience new environments. Learning a new skill, like a language or musical instrument is a great way to look after the health of your brain. Try crossword puzzles, Suduko or brain training apps to give your brain a boost.
- Manage stress
Stress management is perhaps the most important way we can care for our brain – many neurologists will tell you that stress is like poison for our brain because it hinders many of the brains most important functions like memory, lateral thinking, compassion, and decision making. Manage stress by prioritising relaxing activities like walking in nature, spending time with close friends and family members, reading, or anything else that brings you a sense of peace.
- Sleep well
When we sleep, our brain undergoes a cleaning process where cerebral fluid flows from around the brain (where the fluid sits during the day), and moves through the brain, clearing proteins and other substances that have been implicated in degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s when allowed to build up. Make sure you allow 8 hours of sleep per night and get into a good sleep routine to keep your brain healthy.
- Practice mindfulness and meditation
Mindfulness and mediation are perhaps the most powerful ways to care for our mind and mental wellbeing because they train our mind to focus, help us to become emotionally resilient, and provide excellent strategies for lowering our stress levels. The Vital Mind program includes a library of meditations and mindfulness exercises your brain will love!
How are you going to boost your brainpower today?
by Amelia Harvey
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